Access to Justice

  • July 26, 2020

    High Court Rebuffs Still Leave Paths To Fight Executions

    While the U.S. Supreme Court in July allowed federal authorities to execute three individuals using lethal injection, its rulings did not go as far as greenlighting executions for the nearly 60 prisoners who are currently on death row in federal prisons, several legal experts on capital punishment said.

  • July 26, 2020

    Alexis Hoag On 'Movement Lawyering' As A Tool For Justice

    As the practitioner-in-residence at Columbia University's Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, Alexis Hoag is teaching the lawyers of tomorrow about "movement lawyering," a grassroots style of advocacy that she believes is critical to increasing access to justice.

  • July 26, 2020

    After Stone Clemency, Activists Rally For Elder Parole

    In commuting the sentence of Republican political operative Roger Stone earlier this month, President Donald Trump highlighted his 67-year-old friend's age and medical conditions. State and national advocates for elderly parole say his logic should lead to the release of far more people, especially during a pandemic.

  • July 24, 2020

    Legal Aid Orgs Say Demand Will Keep Rising Amid Pandemic

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic upheaval, 97% of legal aid organizations funded by the Legal Services Corp. anticipate a sharp increase in the need for legal aid for issues such as eviction, foreclosure and consumer debt, according to a new survey.

  • July 24, 2020

    Migrant Families Face Choice Between Unity And Virus

    Recent court orders requiring the government to release migrant children from detention — but not their parents — could usher in another family separation crisis and pave the way for prolonged detention of families.

  • July 19, 2020

    Execution Cases Show High Court Divide On Death Penalty

    Federal executions resumed last week following a 17-year hiatus, greenlighted by a spate of late-night divided orders from the U.S. Supreme Court that have sparked calls from dissenting justices to revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty.

  • July 19, 2020

    Kirkland & Ellis Helps Secure Victory For Immigrant Teens

    Two years after filing a class action behalf of teenagers held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kirkland & Ellis and its nonprofit partners at the National Immigrant Justice Center and the American Immigration Council won a major court victory saying that the agency had not followed proper procedure.

  • July 19, 2020

    Progressives Target Vance In Manhattan DA Race

    The most diverse and progressive field to ever compete for the position of Manhattan district attorney participated in a virtual forum last week, tackling questions about bail reform, police brutality and the tenure of current DA Cy Vance Jr., who's yet to announce whether he'll seek a fourth term.

  • July 19, 2020

    At NYC Protests, A New Collective Of Black Legal Observers

    Julian Hill, a lawyer and grassroots organizer from Harlem, joined a celebratory Black-led bicycle ride through Central Brooklyn last month on Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Texas with news that slavery had been abolished.

  • July 19, 2020

    'Good Faith': Breonna Taylor And The Broad Search Standard

    The botched drug raid that killed Breonna Taylor has made her name a rallying cry for police accountability. But her death also raises thorny Fourth Amendment questions about whether the search of her apartment was invalid even before police shot her.

  • July 12, 2020

    Ronal Serpas On Why Police Reform Is A Justice Issue

    Ronal Serpas ended his 34-year law enforcement career to teach at Loyola University in 2014, but he hasn’t given up on police reform. Here, the co-chair of the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration explains why police reform is an access to justice issue.

  • July 12, 2020

    Shift To Virtual Eviction Hearings Stirs Due Process Fears

    As communities throughout the country look to reinitiate eviction proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts are conducting hearings online, creating a potential due process barrier for low-income individuals who face obstacles to fast internet connections, tenant advocates say.

  • July 10, 2020

    Is Milwaukee's Eviction Spike 'The Canary In The Coal Mine'?

    Wisconsin joined numerous states in passing protections against evictions at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after its moratorium expired in late May, the city of Milwaukee saw a major spike in eviction cases, a trend that some worry might be repeated elsewhere as more eviction bans come to an end.

  • July 12, 2020

    How Pa. Is Setting The Pace On Clean Slate Reform

    More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have been afforded a second chance as the state's first-of-its-kind automated system for sealing certain low-level criminal offenses went into effect. Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act has now become a kind of national model as more than half a dozen states have started moving toward automated expungement of criminal records.

  • July 10, 2020

    NY Bill Would Suspend Two-Fail Bar Exam Rule For Pandemic

    New legislation would allow New York public defender and government law graduates who have twice failed the bar exam to continue to practice under supervision for the duration of the state's ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.

  • July 08, 2020

    NY Courts Extend Hold On Evictions In Latest Twist Of Saga

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Wednesday extended a pause on evictions and related proceedings at least through Aug. 5, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo chipped away at remaining pandemic-related eviction restrictions.

  • June 28, 2020

    Will Spotlight On Racial Justice Force More Diverse Juries?

    Experts are expressing confidence that the civil unrest gripping the nation over racial tensions will refuel the push to make juries more diverse, a problem that has vexed the legal industry long before the killings of George Floyd and others by white police officers.

  • June 28, 2020

    Ruling May Show Sea Change In Territorial Access To Benefits

    Just weeks after the First Circuit said denying Puerto Ricans Social Security disability benefits is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Guam came to a similar conclusion, signaling a potential sea change in how the courts view U.S. citizens in territories who have traditionally been excluded from a number of federal programs.

  • June 28, 2020

    Immigrant Bond Grants Stagnate Despite More Counsel

    Over the last five years, representation rates for immigrants in bond hearings have nearly doubled. But over the same time period, bond grant rates have dropped — and those granted bonds have been asked to pay increasingly higher amounts for freedom.

  • June 28, 2020

    Virus's Creep Into Juvenile Detention Fuels Release Efforts

    Fewer than 14% of detained youth in Louisiana have been tested for COVID-19, but more than 93% of that group has tested positive. A recent setback in litigation aimed at their release highlights the challenges facing advocates who are concerned that purportedly rehabilitative juvenile detention facilities aren't meeting the moment.

  • June 28, 2020

    Morgan Lewis Helps Pa. Man Upend Murder Conviction

    Andrew Swainson tries not to be bitter about having spent 31 years of his life behind bars for a murder conviction that a Pennsylvania judge vacated earlier this month.

  • June 21, 2020

    As Nov. Nears, Attys Fight To Ensure Jailed Voters Get Ballots

    While felony convictions have stripped more than 6 million Americans of their right to vote, about half a million people sitting in U.S. jails on any given day are eligible to cast a ballot, but they rarely can. Civil rights lawyers are trying to help.

  • June 21, 2020

    Emily Benfer On The Incoming Wave Of COVID-19 Evictions

    Columbia University law professor Emily Benfer worked with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab to create a COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard that’s tracking eviction prevention policies across states. She told Law360 that the patchwork nature of the protections will leave many renters and landlords falling through the cracks.

  • June 21, 2020

    Donation Wave Powers Bail Funds' Future

    Bail funds received more than $70 million in donations during the wave of protests and activism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Spikes in funding and media attention have happened before, but advocates say this time, momentum is building for lasting changes to the pretrial justice system.

  • June 21, 2020

    In California, Jury Boxes 'Whitewashed' All Too Often

    It's unconstitutional to prevent someone from serving on a jury based on their race, but a recent report examining jury selection in California found that Black and Latinx jurors are dramatically more likely to be struck from a jury by prosecutors.

Expert Analysis

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

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    As the problem of modern slavery persists, U.K. companies must take a broad approach when rooting out slave labor in their supply chains, and should not ignore the risk posed by suppliers within the U.K., says Maria Theodoulou of Stokoe.

  • High Court's Juror Exclusion Ruling Does Not Do Enough

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    In Flowers v. Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the rhetoric that exclusion of even one juror based on race is unconstitutional, but without further guidance, the principle the court seeks to uphold will continue to falter, says Kate Margolis of Bradley Arant.

  • Artisanal Miners' Roadblocks To Justice: Is A Path Clearing?

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    Efforts to give small-scale gold miners, who face displacement, pollution and violence at sites around the world, access to fair and functioning justice systems have met with apathy from politicians and fierce resistance from powerful business lobbies, but there are signs that this may be changing, says Mark Pieth, president of the Basel Institute on Governance.

  • High Court Ruling Highlights Double Jeopardy Complications

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gamble does not change the application of the double jeopardy clause as interpreted by federal courts, the decision reinforces the significant impact of dual prosecutions and the risks for corporate and individual defendants, say Laurel Gift and Randall Hsia of Schnader Harrison.

  • High Court's 'Separate Sovereigns' Ruling Is Good For Tribes

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gamble v. U.S. — reaffirming the so-called separate sovereigns doctrine — preserves tribal prosecutors' autonomy and ability to respond promptly to offenses without worrying about the legal repercussions on federal prosecutions, say Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk of Holland & Knight.

  • Border Phone Search Questions Continue In Federal Court

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    A Massachusetts federal court's eventual decision on cellphone searches at the U.S. border in Alasaad v. Nielsen will further illustrate the differences in how federal courts apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California to the warrant-requirement exception for border searches, says Sharon Barney at Leech Tishman.

  • US Misdemeanor System Should Honor Principles Of Justice

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    The U.S. misdemeanor system — which represents the vast majority of the country’s criminal system — is under-regulated, rarely scrutinized and rife with official rule-breaking. It's time we brought this enormous aspect of our democracy into the modern legal era, says Alexandra Natapoff of University of California, Irvine School of Law.

  • Does Multidistrict Litigation Deny Plaintiffs Due Process?

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    Judges in multidistrict litigation consistently appoint lead plaintiffs lawyers based on their experience, war chests and ability to get along with everyone. But evidence suggests that these repeat players often make deals riddled with self-interest and provisions that goad plaintiffs into settling, says Elizabeth Chamblee Burch of the University of Georgia School of Law.

  • NLRB Case Hinders Workers' Path To Justice

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    A little-noticed National Labor Relations Board filing has taken the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 class action waiver decision and turned it into a justification for further limiting workers’ access to courts, says Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

  • Immigration Enforcement Under Trump Neglects Rule Of Law

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    What President Donald Trump and his administration have described as a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. southern border is, in reality, a Trump-exacerbated crisis — which demands real solutions, not incendiary rhetoric, cruelty and lawlessness, says David Leopold of Ulmer & Berne.

  • Calif. Lawmakers Should Stay Out Of USC Sex Abuse Case

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    A pending settlement between the University of Southern California and 17,000 former students would resolve claims over the actions of a sexually abusive gynecologist. But proposed state legislation could undermine the settlement, says Shook Hardy partner Phil Goldberg, director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice.

  • Utah's Online Dispute Platform Is Streamlining Small Claims

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    By making small claims litigation cheaper, faster and more convenient, especially for those facing difficulty appearing in court due to work schedules or geographic distances, an online pilot program in Utah is resolving cases that would otherwise go unfiled — or defaulted upon, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School at Purdue University Global.

  • The First Step Act Is A Major Step For Sentencing Reform

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    While many have heralded the First Step Act as an example of bipartisan cooperation, the mainstream press has said surprisingly little about the law's specific sentencing improvements — many stemming from recommendations made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, says Judge Patti Saris, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

  • How To Improve Jurors' Perceptions Of Legal Outcomes

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    When practitioners use methods to emphasize procedural fairness during jury selection, they can engender more faith in the justice system among potential jurors — which can extend beyond trial, says Natalie Gordon of trial consulting firm DOAR.

  • The Role Of Data In An Access To Justice Movement

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    To change the system, we need the wider community to see beyond personal stories of injustice to the “complete picture” of the lack of access to civil justice. Collecting data, indexing it and making it comprehensible is a key part of painting that picture, say James Gamble and Amy Widman of Fordham Law School's National Center for Access to Justice.

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